The Department of Social Protection has introduced these regulations entitled “Recovery of Certain Benefits and Assistance Scheme” which will enable it to reclaim certain types of welfare payments when a Plaintiff makes a Damages claim for personal injury.
The Regulations introduce a process which is similar to that currently operated in Britain by the Compensation Recovery Unit. The object of the regulations is to prevent Plaintiffs from being “doubly compensated”. The provisions of the scheme are that a statement is issued to a Compensator- usually an insurance company or the Injuries Board which sets out any recoverable benefits that have been paid to a Plaintiff for the same accident or injury.
The Compensator then deducts the amount of welfare payments from the compensation settlement that the Plaintiff is due to receive, and refunds them to the Department of Social Protection. The Plaintiff and the Injuries Board (where applicable) will also receive a copy of the statement which relates to payments received for the following benefits:
● Illness benefit
● Injury benefit
● Incapacity supplement
● Partial capacity benefit
● Invalidity pension
● Disability allowance
Speaking about the new Social Welfare regulations Liam Moloney a Personal Injury Solicitor in Naas Co Kildare said today “the deduction of these welfare payments from settlements is not the responsibility of Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs should obtain a copy of their benefit statement from the Department of Social Protection to make sure that it is correct and that if any deductions are going to be made from their settlements that they are the correct deductions”.
“The new scheme only relates to the types of benefit mentioned above. Plaintiffs should also be aware that there is a right of appeal under the act. Where Plaintiffs are accepting “all in” settlements they need to be aware that the Compensator still has to refund the full social welfare benefit to the Department which could mean quite a significant deduction to their monetary settlement’.
Mr Moloney added “any Plaintiff who has an existing personal claim and who has received benefit payments from the Department of Social Protection should immediately contact their Solicitors to establish whether the benefit they have received falls to be deducted or not from their awards.”.